Buddhism in Bhutan
Mahayana Buddhism was the state religion, and Buddhists cover about 70 percent of the population in the early 1990s. Although originating from Tibetan Buddhism, Bhutanese Buddhism varies significantly in its ritual, liturgy, and monastic organization.
Monasteries and convents were common throughout Bhutan. Both monks and nuns kept their heads shaved and wore characteristic maroon robes. Their days were spent in study and meditation but also in the performance of rituals honoring various bodhisattvas, praying for the dead, and seeking divine mediation on behalf of the ill. Some of their prayers involved chants and singing accompanied by conch shell trumpets.
The introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan occurred in the seventh century A.D., when Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo (reigned A.D. 627-49), a convert to Buddhism, planned the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu in the western Bhutan.
In A.D. 747, a Buddhist saint, Padmasambhava (known in Bhutan as Guru Rinpoche referred to as the Second Buddha), came to Bhutan from India at the invitation numerous local kings